Council agrees to implement ECSA-ETF Agreement on decent work for seafarers

07 Dec 2017

European shipowners and European transport workers speak together to warmly welcome today’s adoption of a Council Directive improving seafarers’ working conditions. This change will implement an agreement between the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) and the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF), which will bring European rules up-to-date with international best practice.

The new rules oblige shipowners to provide financial security protecting seafarers against the consequences of abandonment in an overseas port. In addition, this agreement ensures the payment of contractual compensation in the event of the death or long-term disability of a seafarer resulting from an occupational injury, illness or hazard.

The changes are based on the 2014 amendments to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC).  The social partners’ agreement updates their previous agreement, contained in the annex to Directive 2009/13/EC.

Tim Springett, ECSA spokesperson to the Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee for Maritime Transport (SSDC), said “Our original agreement, which became EU law in 2009, provided the much needed impetus to the worldwide acceptance of the MLC and helped it to enter into force globally. In addition to guaranteeing decent work for seafarers irrespective of their nationality of the flag of their ship, the MLC helps good shipowners by giving flag and port states effective tools to enforce the MLC standards on those ships that fail to conform.” 

We are very pleased that the Council has supported the social partners in our joint aim of keeping our European agreement up to date with the international legal framework. We must not forget that this convention is a living instrument for the continuous improvement of seafarers’ living and working conditions” said ETF spokesperson to the SSDC Mark Dickinson.


For more information, please contact:

Martin Dorsman
Secretary General

Rue Ducale, Hertogstraat 67/B2, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
T +32 2 510 61 26


Karoliina Rasi
Director – Public Affairs & Communications

Rue Ducale, Hertogstraat 67/B2, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
T +32 2 510 61 34

M +32 476 349 263


Philippe Alfonso

Political Secretary for Maritime Transport

European Transport Workers' Federation

Tel: +32 2 285 45 84


About ECSA

ECSA was founded in 1965. It represents the national shipowners’ associations of the EU and Norway. ECSA promotes the interests of European shipping so that the industry can best serve European and international trade in a competitive and free business environment, to the benefit of both shippers and consumers. The European shipowners control 40% of the global commercial fleet.

About ETF

ETF is a pan-European trade union organisation which embraces more than 3.5 million transport workers from 230 transport unions and 41 European countries. It works within an overall framework of global solidarity to represent and defend the interests of transport workers throughout Europe.